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This book critically examines socio-political constructions of risk related to sexual offending behaviour by and among children and young people and charts the rise of harmful sexual or exploitative behaviour among peers, drawing on a range of theoretical frameworks and primary research.
Discussion of these behaviours is exhibited against a backdrop of the premature cultural sexualisation of contemporary childhood, which challenges traditional conceptions of childhood, victimhood and gendered sexual identities more broadly. It examines the complexities of peer-based sexual behaviours in a range of settings, including within organisational contexts such as schools and care homes, within families and peer-based relationships, as well as online contexts including sexting and cyberbullying. It draws out the myriad legal, practical and policy challenges of negotiating the boundaries between normal/experimental, risky/problematic and harmful sexual behaviour, and in particular the demarcation between coercion and consent, both for professionals as well as children and young people themselves.